Bishop Nick's Easter Online Words

Wednesday 8 April 2020 

To all Clergy in the Diocese of Leeds

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I trust that this Holy Week will bring you blessing as well as challenge. Thank you again for all you are doing to ‘be’ the church at an extraordinary time in the life of the world.

Most of us have had to draw a line through our diary without any idea of when life might resume in some more familiar form. The open-endedness of this is causing many people deep anxiety. If we had an end-time and a timeline, we would naturally start to give shape to our use of time now; but, we don’t. It is this ‘formlessness and void’ that is particularly difficult.

So, I think there are two things to say: (a) we will re-construct our diaries in due course, recognising that the world will have changed and so might the ways we work in future – we might learn some new things about ourselves, our ministry and gifts, and how to lead our church and serve our parish; (b) no one should feel guilty about finding this hard or feeling somehow inadequate for the task – we will navigate this territory together and then re-group for a changed future.

So, please be kind to yourself. Clergy spend their lives giving out, and it is hard for some now to be restricted in how pastoral care can be exercised. We do what we can and commend this to God whose church and whose ministry/mission it essentially is. And we need to be asking what me might receive during this strange time. I hope you might take time off after Easter, where possible, and prioritise rest and spacious grace.

If you have been looking at the website and my daily offerings, you should be encouraged that we don’t have to be perfect in what we offer on social media or elsewhere. So, tomorrow, when we were intending to be together in Wakefield Cathedral for the Chrism Eucharist with Re-affirmation of Vows and the Blessing of Oils, we can join in on the cathedral website to a pre-recorded and edited ‘service’. I have re-worked the Vows a little, but please do join in. You can find it from 11am (and thereafter) at https://youtu.be/d78hVSHtD2A . The order of service can be downloaded from: https://www.wakefieldcathedral.org.uk/uploads/wakefield_cathedral/files/... .

Each Holy Week we speak thoughtfully about sacrifice. This year we also live it. I pray that each of you will be blessed through this Holy Week and that Easter will bring you great joy. You are being prayed for by the bishops daily and they join me in anticipating the great Hallelujah when the Christmas promise that “the light cannot be overcome by the darkness” is seen to be true at Easter.

I will write to you again early next week, but please do not hesitate to be in touch with your bishop or archdeacon at any point.

May God bless you.


Rt Revd Nick Baines
Bishop of Leeds
 

 

Saturday April 4

 

To all Clergy in the Diocese of Leeds

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

I write this on the eve of Palm Sunday. This year there will be no processions and no donkeys. But, we can still re-live the events and significance of the day on our own or via social media. The same, of course, applies to Holy Week and Easter. We are invited to walk with Jesus and his friends into the uncertain and unknown future, opening ourselves to the cost of sacrifice and the joy of surprise.

 

In this letter I simply want to encourage you as we enter Jerusalem with Jesus and his friends, walking the way of the cross and finding the world turned upside down. The bishops are praying for you as, deprived of the usual markers along the journey, you creatively lead your people through to Easter and beyond.

 

You might like to direct people to the diocesan website each day. I have recorded a video reflection, each one lasting only a couple of minutes, to accompany us through the week or so ahead. Go to https://www.leeds.anglican.org/news/lets-celebrate-easter-online-together and from there to https://www.leeds.anglican.org/easter-2020 .

 

In the absence of a physical Chrism Eucharist this year, Wakefield Cathedral will be streaming a ‘programme’ at 11am (and available on the website thereafter) in which my daily reflection will be accompanied by a form of ‘reaffirmation of ordination and discipleship vows’ which you can join in with: https://m.facebook.com/wfdcathedral/ .

 

Our cathedrals will also stream content on Easter Day, including my reflection and the Easter Blessing. There will be a link on the diocesan website. I should have been celebrating at Bradford Cathedral on Easter Day and you can go straight there at https://bradfordcathedral.org/worship/live-stream/.

 

As well as local initiatives for Holy Week and Easter, here are a few others:

  • https://www.rumoursofhope.co.uk/ - great resource for the Easter Vigil.
  • Light at Home is a group for resourcing families with faith-based activities for use at home, which has been developed by the Diocese of Leeds Children, Young People and Families and Education Teams on the Diocesan Learning Platform. There are a range of ideas and resources to support families as they journey through Holy Week and Easter, which can be found here. These are suitable both for churchgoing families and those on the fringes of church life, so do please promote them widely.

 

Despite everything, may you be blessed this Holy Week and Easter.

 

Rt Revd Nick Baines

Bishop of Leeds

 

Daily thoughts for Holy Week

 

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